BERLIN (JTA) — Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel was released from a German prison after serving a five-year sentence.
Zundel, 69, who was released Monday from a prison in Mannheim, was found guilty in 2007 of inciting hatred against Jews and systematically denying the Nazi genocide against the Jews — in 14 specific instances — on his Web site and in a newsletter. His five-year sentence included two years in jail following his deportation from Canada in 2005. The trial began in November 2006.
Zundel received the maximum sentence, according to reports.
Born in Germany, Zundel left the country in 1958 allegedly to avoid military service. Considered among the most active Holocaust deniers in the world, he was arrested in Canada in February 2003.
Zundel was among the first right-wing extremists to use the Internet to spread hate material. Canada expelled him after courts there found his Web site to be unconstitutional. He was one of several Holocaust deniers deported to Germany at about that time.
During his trial in Mannheim, Zundel’s attorney, Sylvia Stolz, denied the Holocaust herself and in 2008 was sentenced to three years, eight months in jail.
Meanwhile, the German news agency DDP reported that the sentence of longtime Austrian Holocaust denier Gerd Honsik was reduced to four years from five.
A Vienna court ruled Monday that the original sentence that was passed last April was too high.
Honsik had been convicted of similar charges in 1992 but fled to Spain, where he continued disseminating his Holocaust denial theories in print. He was arrested there in 2007 and sent back to Austria to face further charges.
Honsik repeatedly has questioned the existence of gas chambers.